1 in 56 men will die from skin cancer

Curt grew up on the water. When he wasn’t surfing he was working as a lifeguard. In those days, nobody thought much about skin cancer. The ‘in thing’ was to try and get as tan as possible.

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Curt was no different than his friends. In a world before sun block and sensible exposure the sun was your friend and the more you got the better you liked it. In fact, some of the girls Curt dated would cover themselves in baby oil and bake on the beach all summer. Curt had a freckle on his nose for 30 years. One day he decided to have it removed. When the routine biopsy came back he was diagnosed with skin cancer. Two weeks later they removed his entire nose.

Skin neoplasms are skin growths with differing causes and varying degrees of malignancy. The three most common malignant skin cancers are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma, each of which is named after the type of skin cell from which it arises. Skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin), so a tumor can usually be seen. This means that it is often possible to detect skin cancers at an early stage. Unlike many other cancers, including those originating in the lung, pancreas, and stomach, only a small minority of those affected will actually die of the disease. In fact, though it can be disfiguring, non-melanoma skin cancer is rarely fatal. Melanoma survival rates are poorer than for non-melanoma skin cancer, although when melanoma is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is easier and more people survive.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers combined are more common than lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. Melanoma is less common than both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, but it is the most serious — for example, in the UK there were over 11,700 new cases of melanoma in 2008, and over 2,000 deaths. It is the second most common cancer in young adults aged 15-34 in the UK. Most cases are caused by over-exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common skin cancers. The majority of these are basal cell carcinomas. These are usually localized growths caused by excessive cumulative exposure to the sun and do not tend to spread

The risk of developing skin cancer can be reduced with a number of measures including:

Decrease indoor tanning and mid day sun exposure and increase the use of sunscreen.

Avoid the use of tobacco products.

Reducing overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, especially in early years

Wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and hats) when outdoors

Broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB radiation

Reapply sun block as per the manufacturer’s directions

There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against screening for skin cancer. (Content courtesy of Wikipedia)


Early Detection

His doctor’s told Curt that if he had not come in when he did, he could have easily died. Curt was lucky. In this case vanity saved his life. 1 in 56 men will die of skin cancer.

Don’t be the 1!


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